Greek carnival celebrations get a little flour power

Revellers participate in a ‘flour war’ during ‘Ash Monday’ celebrations, a traditional festivity marking the end of the carnival season and the start of the 40-day Lent period until the Orthodox Easter, in the port town of Galaxidi, Greece. (AFP)
Updated 20 February 2018
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Greek carnival celebrations get a little flour power

GALAXIDI, Greece: For a few hours every year, residents and visitors of this pretty Greek seaside town have a license to lose their civility.
They have what’s known as a “flour war” — participants pelt each other with bags of dyed flour along the coastal road lining Galaxidi’s old harbor.
It’s an explosion of color that takes place every Clean Monday, an Orthodox Christian holiday marking the start of Lent and the end of the carnival season which holds onto many of the country’s pre-Christian traditions.
Some 200 kilometers (120 miles) west of Athens, Galaxidi only has about 1,700 inhabitants but it was once an important trading port. Its influence declined with the advent of steam power in the 19th century.
Some of the town’s former grandeur remains, including many of its traditional stone houses.
The town only acquired a proper road link to the rest of central Greece in the 1960s, leaving much of Galaxidi with the appearance of a Greek island.


Spanish prosecutors file tax evasion charges against Shakira

Colombian singer Shakira visits Tannourine Cedars Reserve, in Tannourine, Lebanon July 13, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 13 min 11 sec ago
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Spanish prosecutors file tax evasion charges against Shakira

  • Shakira was named in the “Paradise Papers” leaks that detailed the offshore tax arrangements of numerous high-profile individuals, including musical celebrities like Madonna and U2’s Bono

MADRID: Spanish prosecutors have charged pop music star Shakira with tax evasion, alleging she failed to pay more than 14.5 million euros ($16.3 million) between 2012 and 2014. The Colombian singer denied the charges.
The charges published Friday allege that Shakira listed the Bahamas as her official residence for tax purposes during those years but was in fact living in Spain with her partner, Spanish soccer player Gerard Pique.
Tax rates are much lower in the Bahamas than in Spain.
Shakira said in a statement Friday through her representatives that she was not a legal resident in Spain during the years in question and owed nothing to the Spanish tax authorities, who are using her “as a scapegoat” to frighten other taxpayers into coming clean.
Prosecutors in Barcelona said Shakira’s travel abroad was for short periods because of professional commitments, while most of the year she stayed in Spain. They want her to pay tax in Spain on her worldwide income.
Shakira officially moved to Spain for tax purposes in 2015, after having two children by Pique.
A magistrate will assess whether there is enough evidence to put Shakira on trial.
Prosecutors want Shakira to pay a bond of 19.4 million euros — the amount they say she owes in tax, plus 33 percent, in accordance with Spanish law. Otherwise, they recommend a court freeze of her assets to that amount.
Shakira was named in the “Paradise Papers” leaks that detailed the offshore tax arrangements of numerous high-profile individuals, including musical celebrities like Madonna and U2’s Bono.
The documents were obtained by German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung and investigated by Spanish news website El Confidencial.
Spain’s tax authorities referred their probe to the Barcelona prosecutor’s office a year ago.
Sports celebrities have also been in trouble with Spanish tax authorities, including soccer stars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.